Knicks take Tech’s Shumpert at No. 17

Iman Shumpert was as nervous as he ever gets.

“I don’t get nervous,” he said late Thursday night from his home in Oak Park, Ill. “For me to be nervous means something big is about to happen.”

That something happened when NBA commissioner David Stern strode to the podium of the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., carrying a card with the former Georgia Tech guard’s name on it.

“I’ll just remember him looking down and not really knowing how to pronounce my name and him finally figuring it out, saying my name,” Shumpert said. “I heard my first name and I couldn’t hear anything else after that. I just remember everyone jumping up and down and my mother grabbing me. It was a surreal feeling.”

Shumpert went to bed, briefly, as the newest New York Knick, chosen by the NBA flagship team with the 17th pick of Thursday’s NBA draft. He had a 4:45 a.m. Friday morning wakeup to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight to New York to meet with his employers.

“It’s a dream come true,” Shumpert said. “I can’t even put it into words.”

Shumpert’s selection completed a remarkable surge up the draft board. When he decided to keep his name in the draft in early May and skip his senior season, he was pegged as a second-rounder at best. A month ago, rated him as the No. 42 player in the draft and the No. 11 point guard.

In a draft heavy with point guards, Shumpert was the fifth off the board.

“If we want to become a better defensive team, we have to acquire good defensive players,” Knicks senior vice president Glen Grunwald told ESPN following the selection. “We love his size, his athleticism.”

Shumpert evidently won over the Knicks in a pre-draft workout. His size (6-foot-4, 222 pounds and a 6-9 wingspan), athletic ability (his standing vertical leap of 36.5 inches was the best at the May draft combine) and defensive prowess made Shumpert stand out in a crowded field.

“I felt like I played great,” Shumpert said of the Knicks’ workout. “I felt like I did what I needed to do. I felt like me.”

Shumpert spoke briefly with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and outgoing team president Donnie Walsh Thursday night.

“He’s excited for it and hopes I’m ready to get down to business and work,” Shumpert said of D’Antoni.

The Knicks could prove to be a good fit for Shumpert and vice versa. New York, one of the weakest defensive teams in the NBA, can use any help they can get. Shumpert, on top of leading the Yellow Jackets in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals, was an All-ACC defensive team pick. He has the size, quickness and strength to defend both guard spots. His ability to play both could make him a running mate with backup guard and former Jonesboro High star Toney Douglas.

Shumpert’s father Odis Shumpert II was excited for his son’s chance to serve as an understudy to Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups.

“With Chauncey Billups, you can’t go wrong,” Odis said. “I think Iman’s been selected by a great team. He’ll be able to work well with them. He’s willing to learn. He’s got no choice.”

Further, Shumpert knows Douglas from working out together in Atlanta. He shares his agent, Happy Walters, with All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire. (Stoudemire wears the No. 1 jersey that Shumpert wore at Tech. He doesn’t expect to make a bid on it. Said Shumpert, “He’s got a lot more money.”) For what it’s worth, the trail from Alexander Memorial Coliseum to Madison Square Garden has already been blazed by a good friend – former Tech women’s star Alex Montgomery, a rookie with the WNBA’s Liberty.

“He’s in the mecca of basketball,” Odis Shumpert said. “He’s got to play off the charts.”

Thursday night, after he’d played basketball during the day to calm his nerves, then sat through 16 nerve-wracking picks before his name was called, and finally celebrated with about 140 family members and friends at an Oak Park restaurant (Odis Shumpert told Iman the next tab belongs to him), Shumpert was ready to start. He doesn’t know what affect a lockout will have on his future, but he does know he’ll have to work on his jump shot and decision making.

Getting drafted, he said, is “something that makes me want to go in the gym right now and work hard. I want to help bring a championship to New York now.”

70 comments Add your comment


June 23rd, 2011
9:33 pm

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

June 23rd, 2011
9:35 pm

I hope Iman has a long and successful NBA career. Go Jackets!


June 23rd, 2011
9:37 pm

Congrats….I sincerely hope he has a great NBA career (I was selfishly hoping he would stay at GT for one more season……….he would have been a stellar college player as a senior!).

Ric Flair

June 23rd, 2011
9:50 pm

I hope Home Team was watching. Said both Thompkins and Leslie would get drafted before Shump on the radio today. Wooooo!


June 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

Hewitt Fan

June 23rd, 2011
9:56 pm

Add another 1st rounder to Hewitt’s resume!…Now thats what you call DEVELOPING TALENT!

ATLER (rablin wreck)

June 23rd, 2011
9:57 pm

Sports Radio and Sports writers know nothing. They only talk and write to keep us entertained. Congrats Shumpert!!!!!!!! Wish we could have kept ya for the last year.


June 23rd, 2011
10:03 pm

Imam u better come correct this is NYC we don’t play that!


June 23rd, 2011
10:13 pm

Another first round talent under Hewitt. All he could come up with NBA talent again was 13-18 record including a loss to Kennesaw State. How can he sleep at night?


June 23rd, 2011
10:14 pm

Iman was clearly the best player on an underperforming Georgia Tech team. He was clearly much better in his junior season than previous years, and appeared to improve. His triple double game (which I was at) was a thing to see. And we’ll definitely miss him next year playing UNC. I admire his decision to leave, to believe in his talent, and to get into the first round … with all of the financial security that brings. Best of luck in NYC, Iman!

Mark Fox

June 23rd, 2011
10:17 pm

but uga beat tech this year. thompkins??????? leslie????????


June 23rd, 2011
10:21 pm

Hewitt Fan, another first rounder who had a meteoric rise as soon as he got out from under the shadow of Paul Hewitt. Do you truly think that Hewitt had anything to do with this? Coming out of college with all your supposed “tutoring” from Hewitt, he was projected to go undrafted. And magically, once he got away from Hewitt, he becomes a first rounder. Seems so ironic, right? Not really . . .


June 23rd, 2011
10:33 pm

OK, I think Mark Fox was supposed to be an NBA developer. Thompkins and Leslie names haven’t been called yet. Dawgs lost in first round of NCAA tournament under Fox. UGA might as well had kept Felton and got the same results.


June 23rd, 2011
10:36 pm

Congrats Iman! Proud of ya! GO TECH!


June 23rd, 2011
10:41 pm

Wow. And Mark Bradley thought he wouldn’t get drafted just a few weeks back. Please show more support.


June 23rd, 2011
10:49 pm

Congratulations to Iman! Good luck in New York.


June 23rd, 2011
10:52 pm

Nice Iman! I thought you made a bad move but I was wrong.
Nice try at spinning this Hewitt Fan. Apparently we have ANOTHER instance of an undiscovered NBA star that passed almost unnoticed through Tech under Hewitt. So look forward to Bball at Tech going forward. Can’t wait to get the T dome roaring again.


June 23rd, 2011
11:07 pm

Yes Sir! Another first rounder from Georgia Tech! Good luck in New York Iman

just asking

June 23rd, 2011
11:10 pm

where is all the reporters and cameras for the Doctors who fly overseas and volunteer countless hours of their time and perform operations at no cost to those in need and how bout the missionaries from Georgia who devote their lives to helping those in need around the world, where are their stories in the AJC? All I see is some 6 and 7 coach who did not donate one dime of his money yet the reporters and cameras are all over him like he walks on water.

When the centurian ask Jesus to heal one of his servants, what would have happened if Jesus said lets wait 24 hours so the Nazereth Journal and Constitution can take photos and write a full report on this blessed event

MB is so smart...

June 23rd, 2011
11:11 pm

Mark Bradley said last month:

“I think he’s (Iman) making a mistake. ”
Trey Thompkins, Georgia forward: Was ready to leave.
Travis Leslie, Georgia guard: Wasn’t quite ready but was close enough to try it.
Iman Shumpert, Tech guard: Wasn’t ready and shouldn’t go.

LOL, don’t quit your day job. There’s a reason why you are a writer, you can’t see talent. Kid was a McD All american for goodness sake…

Tech Fan

June 23rd, 2011
11:35 pm

Congrats to Shump!!

Biff Pocoroba

June 23rd, 2011
11:35 pm

Hewitt must be wetting his pants tonight. He is getting paid millions for not coaching the past five yesrs and he has someone who can get him tickets to see his beloved Knicks now. At least we won’t have to listen to more of his talk about how great the Knicks and Yankees are with Wes anymore.

5150 UOAD

June 23rd, 2011
11:47 pm

Hewitt Fan give it up! Hewitt didn’t develop anything while at Tech but a big bank account.

Good for IMAN. Hope he does well.

The Anti-BuzzDraft

June 24th, 2011
12:02 am

News Flash Tech Fans: your new coach is not happy with this job. Said he didn’t know it would be this hard. Said it’s going to take at least 5 years to win.


June 24th, 2011
12:09 am

Hewitt fan,
No one has ever said Hewitt could not develop NBA talent – just look at how many of his former players are there. The problem is he could not coach them to victories while at Tech. Shump really improved this year and the Knicks will be happy.


June 24th, 2011
12:12 am

Funny thing is that when he committed to the draft, he was a second round to not drafted. When the draft came, he was a first round pick. It just goes to show that when you go to a coach that trains you to play basketball that you can actually do something (Hewitt didn’t develop his talent over the past couple months, lets be real.)

The Anti-BuzzDraft

June 24th, 2011
12:23 am

To the Anti-Hewitt Delegation: You do understand that Shump got better each year he was at Tech? Did you guys forget the Tripple Double? Leading the team in pretty much every category. I know he’s not Derrick Craig the greatest 3-pt shooter to ever step on campus but he is far better than your hate for Hewitt will allow.

The Let It Go Delegation

Demon Deacon

June 24th, 2011
1:05 am


Going from the mean streets of ATL to the mean streets of NY City


June 24th, 2011
3:59 am

Whats with all the kind words now a few weeks ago you people totally ripped this guy. Come on tech fans make up your minds. you cant play both sides you either love him or hate him and for the past few weeks its been nothing but hate on here. You people are so shady


June 24th, 2011
7:41 am

Glad to see him go!!! He thought he was so good, couldn’t be “coached” by anyone else at Tech other than Hewitt. Good, pack your bags. Hope your new coach can actually utilize your talent. Turn your back on Tech, good as gone.


June 24th, 2011
8:43 am

Another Tech player not graduating.


June 24th, 2011
8:53 am

Good call, Dimino.


June 24th, 2011
9:14 am

First and foremost: congratulations to Iman. Second, to Iman, keep up the hard, steady work. Third, to everybody else, this should serve as good example to those that do not want to put forth a good effort. Sometimes, you have to show the effort to reap the rewards as nothing worth having is simply handed to you.

Fourth. well, I’ll come back to that later so it does not detract from the feel-goodness of these events.


June 24th, 2011
9:19 am

Well, the “fourth” would be: to Anti-Buzz and especially to “Mark Fox” – take it elsewhere, fellas. Your postings do not belong here and nobody welcomes you here, nor is any creditable worth seen in your ramblings.

Go Jackets

June 24th, 2011
9:23 am

This is awesome. I remember Iman’s first college game. To think that he came from where he was then to being the 17th pick in the NBA draft says alot about him (and coach Hewitt). If only the Jackets had a better year, he would have gone higher.

GT BBall

June 24th, 2011
9:45 am

Good for Iman, he landed in a great spot for him. He won’t have to play much point to start off with and has Billups to learn from. I’ve always like Toney Douglas alot, could be a good future back court. Another GT millionaire out in the real world!

Tube Steak Shapiro

June 24th, 2011
10:42 am

Ric Flair, it does not surprise me that Brandon (Babbling Idiot) Leake said something that stupid. You see, that’s why he is down the dial along with those other rejects I showed the door.

All I'm Saying Is....

June 24th, 2011
11:14 am

Congrats to Shump and have a great career except when you play the Hawks!

GoJackets: Hewitt sleeps very well at night, I suspect, now that he works for someone else and he has Tech’s buyout money in the bank.

Jacket93: I agree with what you stated. Hewitt could identify talent. Somewhere he lost the ability to meld them and/or coach ‘em up like he did in his first five years.

MB is so smart and gtbuzz: Mark Bradley proves his lack of insight virtually every time he posts a comment, doesn’t he? Unlike some journalist, he apparently does no research in terms of actually talking to people who truly know NBA hoops as I can’t imagine, despite how close to the vest those guys play it, that no one would have mentioned Iman at some point.

GT Fan ...

June 24th, 2011
11:15 am

BEST OF LUCK I.S.! Make GT fans everywhere proud!

And Hewitt couldn’t produce a better W-L record with yet another NBA talent ….. sad.
Doesn’t add-up … It’s seems as if Hewitt was trying to lose???

GT Fan ...

June 24th, 2011
11:23 am

Here’s something for all the Hewitt supporters to ponder …..

If Iman played under Coach K, would his name have replaced Irving’s as the top overall pick? I mean, Coach K & his system has made many players like “WOJO” All ACC players hasn’t he …. and WOJO couldn’t dream of playing in the NBA.

between the lines

June 24th, 2011
11:33 am

Just asking, What does this blog have to do with Mark Richt? How do you know where he donates his money? Good luck Iman!!

O Contrare

June 24th, 2011
11:53 am

Actually, Iman would have been an All-American under a top knotch college coach.

Another talent that was not fully utilized under the Hewitt “system.”

The Anti-BuzzDraft

June 24th, 2011
12:08 pm

So Gee, just because you don’t agree with me means that I should not be here? I’m free to post my opinions here just like you. Don’t let the name fool you, I’m a GT fan and I also attended the school. I know more about the Bball program than most of you on here. As someone pointed out you guys jumped on Shump when he announced a few weeks ago. How could he go from Hive Hero the “Super Freak” to the dumbest, no basketball IQ having player to ever play at Tech? It’s called GT hatred, many of you need help.

Kennesaw State

June 24th, 2011
12:15 pm

Sorry again for the humiliating beat down and thanks so much for donating all those Nesbitt for Heisman T Shirts to our charity clothes drive earlier this year.

George P. Burdell

June 24th, 2011
12:17 pm

How in the world can you be the head honcho for the NBA and not have a clue how to pronounce a first rounders name? Its not like its a really long list of people that are going to be drafted. That is just unbelievable to me.

Hewitt Fan has to be related to Paul. They are about the only people that felt like he should be in Atlanta for another year. Some of them had to be wondering even if they had to put on a show for the media. The team next year will be lucky to get 10 wins and it was going to be that way whether Hewitt stayed or went. Cremins left the program in fairly decent shape compared to where we are now. Hewitt should be ashamed of the way he left things.

Hewitt Fan

June 24th, 2011
1:25 pm

GT Fan …
June 24th, 2011
11:23 am

Here’s something for all the Hewitt supporters to ponder …..

If Iman played under Coach K, would his name have replaced Irving’s as the top overall pick? I mean, Coach K & his system has made many players like “WOJO” All ACC players hasn’t he …. and WOJO couldn’t dream of playing in the NBA.

LOL, i remember WOJO, if you touched him, the refs blew the whistle, but they let him beat the hell out of whoever he played against!..i will never ever understand why GT fans think COACHES play the game..


June 24th, 2011
2:21 pm

How could anyone be a fan of Paul Hewitt? The man could recruit, but couldn’t teach, couldn’t coach. Who would call himself a Hewitt Fan?


June 24th, 2011
2:32 pm

Hey Kennessaw State, I remember when you guys used to lose to Columbus State and how embarrassing was that


June 24th, 2011
3:02 pm

Shumpert, Derrick Favors two first round NBA draft choices and Lawal a second rounder all on the same team? Paul Hewitt may have been the most nothing that ever received a paycheck at Tech.


June 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Congratulations, Iman! Thanks for the time and memories at Tech. Good luck in the Big Apple on the big stage. I’ll enjoy catching a few Knicks games on TV.